James 3:9-12 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
“You have a tongue and a voice. These instruments of speech can be used destructively or employed constructively. You can use your tongue to slander, to gripe, to scold, to nag, and to quarrel; or you can bring it under the control of God’s Spirit and make it an instrument of blessing and praise. The 20th-century version of James 3:3 says, “When we put bits into the horses’ mouths to make them obey us, we control the rest of their bodies also.” Just so, when we submit to the claims of Christ upon our lives, our untamed natures are brought under His control. We become meek, tamed, and “fit for the Master’s service.”” (billygraham.org, daily devotions)
According to the passage above, what are the dual realities that our tongues can engage in? What does James say about this dual function of the tongue?
In today’s passage, we are given the clear directive that our speech should no longer have dual opposing usages—to bless God and curse others. James plainly says “this should not be!” How many of us have been affected and torn down by harmful words of ‘curse’ that were either spoken over us, or you’ve spoken them to someone else? Today we are exhorted to no longer live in such ways, for in Christ we now have only one function, which is to praise God and bless others.
Lord Jesus, your blood has fully forgiven us and cleansed us, and every curse that has been broken by your work on the cross. May our mouths now be used to bring blessing and truth to others, and praise and worship to your name. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
“Now, why did have to say that?” This is the usual response to someone, or even to our own selves when we express unbiblical thoughts and emotions that either put a damper or even extinguishes the wonderful blessing that we receive. An example would be after a wonderful encounter with the Lord, saying things like “I am not sure if I experienced anything”, or saying things that are contrary to scripture, like “God doesn’t bless me”, or in frustration saying things that are outside of biblical truth and boundaries.
Today’s passage clearly emphasizes the role of our speech in the experience of God’s blessing in our lives and in the lives of others, where the tongue has the power of life and death—of blessing and non-blessing. Therefore, may we freshly learn today that our speech does matter before the Lord. For what we say and the manner in which we say things are directly linked to the experience (receiving) of God’s blessing in our lives.
Therefore, we ought to not say things that are untrue and that leads to death—such as speaking out of rage and bitterness, out of evil thoughts and intent, out of doubt and frustrations of life. We are to not even whisper such things. Also, we are to no longer give in to the mindset that says “whatever comes to mind”, I will say it.
Today, pray that you will no longer give in to the sinful habit of verbally expressing every wrong thought, emotion, and desire, but that our words will be transformed by the renewing of our minds, emotions, and speech.
Proverbs 18:4 The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;
the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
The wording ‘deep waters’, is a reference to the hidden dark well from which we can draw our speech from. This deep dark well is composed of the ingrained sinful worldview, hurts, bitterness, unbelief, brokenness, selfishness, always viewing others as the problem, etc. In contrast to this deep dark well, we are to speak from the bubbling brook, where Christ is the source of this fountain of life and truth.
In today’s passage, we are being shown that we are to now speak out of this living truth—bubbling brook of Christ, and not from the deep dark waters of sinful habits.
Make a list of how yourself and others are refreshed when we speak out of the bubbling brook of God. Also, make a list of how you and others are affected when our speech is drawn from the deep dark waters of sinful habits.
Today, consider where you draw your thoughts and speech from. Is it from the bubbling brook of God’s love and truth, or is it from the deep dark wells of sinful habits? One way to discern this is by ascertaining if others (including yourself) feel refreshed or worn out from your speech.
Let’s pray today, asking that we will daily draw from the bubbling brook of God’s truth and presence, and ask for the draining and closing of the deep dark wells of sinful habits.
1Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. 2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. 3 When wickedness comes, contempt comes also, and with dishonor comes disgrace.
The word ‘isolate’ in this passage can also mean unfriendly and separated. This is referring to the person who is isolated/separated from the law and the ways of the Lord, hence they are not tethered nor accountable to the Lord. When this occurs, the concern is no longer about how to please and honor the Lord with our speech, instead they will make their own selves the only determiner of what comes out of their mouths. This leads a person to speak out of self-preservation, self-protection, vengeance, anger, bitterness, suspicion, etc. However, that is no longer the reality of our lives. As it says in Colossians 1:22 “Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” We are now reconciled and tethered to the Lord, therefore our speech is to now reflect that very reality.
In what ways should our speech now reflect our reconciliation with/in Christ instead of isolation?
What are the words/language that we should no longer as we are now tethered to the Lord?
Lord Jesus, may our speech now reflect the reconciling work you’ve done on the cross. As we live in your very presence—holy and blameless, may our speech also reflect this wonderful truth. May my words declare the wonderful work you’ve done in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
7 The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. 12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. 14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
“This is my first experience of attending school. We had just immigrated to Brazil, so my understanding of the language was non-existent. To make matters worse, my parents enrolled me in a Catholic School, even though we had never stepped into a church before. I remember the utter confusion, trauma, and turmoil of those days. The only thing that helped me was a kind Korean boy who was tasked to help me. He translated what was being said, sat with me during lunch, and even told me when I should stand and sit during mass. He helped me make sense of this new world that I was being thrown into. In a similar manner, the Word of the Lord comes alongside us and gives us instruction on how to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord. Revealing the sins that lurk in our hearts, and cleansing us from both the hidden and the deliberate sins.” (GK)
According to verses 12-13, in what ways does the word of the Lord deal with sin in our lives?
According to verse 14, how do we keep God’s word constantly active in our lives?
Today, spend time praying through the passage above. Ask the Lord that the words of your mouth and the meditation of your heart become pleasing to Him. Listen and worship with the song “May the words of my mouth”. (Click Here)